HCI Masters Programs: Georgia Tech v. Indiana Purdue v. Indiana Bloomington
31 Mar 2011 - 9:04pm
2 years ago
Hello everyone. I am a soon-to-be HCI graduate student who is looking for some input and comments about certain M.S. in HCI programs that I have been accepted into. Before I talk about the schools, let me say a few things about my intended career path.
The first program is Georgia Tech. This is currently my top-ranked school for a number of reasons. First, the program's structures and the available course seem to be very strong and relevant to the kinds of professional interests that I have. Secondly, since GeorgiaTech is such a big name, I think it would give me a competitive advantage when I am looking for jobs and have its name on my resume. Third, various of the professors there have research interests that correspond with my professional interests. Fourth, as far as I know, the university is located in a much better city (Atlanta) for networking and finding relevant (and hopefully higher paying) jobs while I am in the program and perhaps soon thereafter. Fifth, I am pretty sure that GATech receives more funding than any of the other schools I will mention in this post, which may mean that I will be able to engage in more important or more impressive work. Unfortunately, GATech does not offering funding with admission, but there is a 30-40% chance that I could acquire an assistantship while I am there, according to the program director. My biggest concern with the program is that, because I would have to pay a tuition of roughly $21.3K per year, I may end up having to take up a $45K+ loan to complete the program.
I have also been invited to enter the programs at Indiana University Bloomington and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. The former has offered me full-tuition funding, while the latter has offered me roughly $6.3K per year on roughly $17K tuition per year.
So here are some questions that are running through my mind as the deadline for my decision approaches (in about 2 weeks):
1. Since I currently have no debt and am single with no children, should I not even worry about the debt that I would have to carry in order to attend GeorgiaTech? Are the job prospects that I am likely to obtain from exceling in that program likely to secure me jobs that will put me in a comfortable position to pay off that debt in the future?
2. How much better, if at all, is the Georgia Tech program than the Indiana universities, given my professional interests and background? In your view, does either Indiana school offer something that GATech does not and offer that thing or things better than GATech does? Obviously if you believe that either of the Indiana schools is better, than your recommendation should be obvious, since GATech isn't offering me any funding. But if you believe GATech is somewhat or substantially better, do you think it is better enough to justify rejecting the funding offers from the other schools and take up a substantial loan to go there instead?
3. Can any of you speak to the nature of the 3 mentioned programs? In your view, what are their strengths? Weaknesses? And feel free to discuss not only the programs themselves but the job prospects related with the programs, the networking opportunites related with the programs, etc. (I should note that I am not interested in such factors as weather and social environments, however).
4. I am also curious about DePaul University, the University of Baltimore, and the University of Maryland. Both of the Maryland schools have accepted me so far, but neither offered any funding. And basically, since I have GATech ranked higher and it would not be THAT much more expensive to attend GATech, I am not even seriously considering going to either of the Maryland schools. But I am curious if anyone thinks either school might be a better choice for me, given my professional interests. As for DePaul, I haven't heard back from them yet, but I very much liked the coursework and program structure. It seemed VERY comprehensive. But I have my doubts about the school because I haven't really seen many people talking about the program anywhere.
Any input at all will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.